Government Names: Random Memory #4

No, I’m still not going to tell you what mine is. Just know that very few people can spell it.

By people, I mean most of the young women and men who work behind the counters of Starbucks shops in my area, in other areas, in all the areas in the world. (For the record, I don’t even remember if the Versailles Starbucks spelled it right. I was on a palace high. Anyway, they get a pass.) Apparently, no one has heard my very common name before and no one remembers phonetics from elementary school and sounding things out. I have spoken my name slowly, have spelled my name slowly–all to no avail. This morning at a Starbucks close to the OK Corral, one poor guy asked me to spell the name. After I did, he laughed at himself for even asking, because, I repeat: it is a very common name. 

Anyway, the whole name thing brings back an interesting memory. Back when I was a college-aged Square Peg and worked at my beloved, dearly departed Borders Books, I went through this weird phase where I was tired of hearing my own name. Blame it on the lack of nutrients and being a teenager, I don’t know. But one afternoon, while at work, I started asking my co-workers to call me a different name, a variation of my government name. Hardly anyone questioned this request. By now, most of them understood that this college girl who was in love with books and writing and a certain boy (see link above) was in a universe all of her own. Soon, my name tag changed. When called on the loudspeaker, everyone used this new name. In conversation, I was referred to by my new name. I was on cloud nine. And let me tell you, when my crush used this new name–let’s just say that it was thrilling. Of all people, he was so serious in accommodating my new name…which made me adore him even more, if that were humanly possible at the time. I digress. I rode the high of having this new identity and I enjoyed every moment of it. Until I didn’t.

Especially fake ones.

The thing with a new name: if you’re going to arbitrarily ask people to call you by a different moniker, it’s probably best to request this in all facets of your life. Not just work. Because, sure, people were calling me by this exciting new name in one place, but I was still the same old [Insert Name Here] at home, school, etc. After a while, it felt strange and jarring. And unwanted. I quickly informed my co-workers that they could go back to my old name. As expected of my old comrades, they acquiesced. Funny enough, however, some had gotten so used to the temporary name that it was actually hard for them to go back. Can you imagine? Anyway, eventually, things got back to normal at Borders. Old names returned and steady infatuations continued. You can guess which one of the latter two remained.

The above was brought to you a random memory…

…but before you leave me, tell me how you feel about your name, won’t you? Feel free to add whether your local Starbucks butchers it beyond reason, as well.


4 Replies to “Government Names: Random Memory #4”

  1. Hi,

    I hope your week is going well.

    For some reason, “government name” always makes me imagine a world full of citizens with electronic chips implanted at the base of their heads. 😀

    I have a traditional Nigerian name that’s typically borne by males, so some people give me a look of disbelief when I tell them my name. Some even go as far as demanding that I give them my actual name. Ah! It’s a great icebreaker.

    I didn’t always like my name, but because of its meaning, I grew to love it. When I lived abroad, not everyone got the pronunciation right.

    PS: Coffee shops will never see my money. I cannot stand the smell of coffee.

    1. Hi there,

      Well, your statement about citizen with chips implanted at the base of their heads might be might next sci fi story. So thank you! LOL.

      I have such a powerful connection to my name. Not only the Government, more American one, but my middle one, which is absolutely Ghanaian. I wrote a post about my relationship with that name, too. It’s just nice to be in a space where we love our names, isn’t it? Even though these kids can’t spell the first one. Or the folks who couldn’t pronounce it right for you. Lazy tongues, I like to say. Lol.

      Ah, I love the name icebreaker! Hahaha. “Give me your actual name.” I love it.

      I wish coffee shops had that kind of effect on me. Even though I quit coffee about 8 years ago, the smell is my Siren. It owns me. Le sigh.

  2. Haha. “Government name”.

    I love my name. I removed the reference to God in it from my official documents when I was young and my Mom still comments on it.

    On the other side, it can be shortened to something easier for their tongues but those that actually try pronounce it correctly after 1 or 2 tries.

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